Prince of the City - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Prince of the City Reviews

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May 2, 2016
Prince of the City (1981) ???
Emotionally powerful film about narcotics detective in N.Y.C. who puts himself, and his family, at life threatening danger when he tries to be straight in world full of police corruption. Raw, gritty, intense, unpredictable, anchored by totally authentic New York feel and a super-charged performance by Treat Williams. Overall impact is muted by the film's sheer length. Outstanding screenplay co-written by director Sidney Lumet.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2015
Sidney Lumet's fascinating, emotionally powerful crime drama which is based upon a true story, concerning a young undercover narcotics cop named Daniel Ciello, played marvelously by Treat Williams in the performance of his career, who decides to reveal the corruption within his elite unit. This taut excellently crafted film constitutes a social drama about the law, the lawless and the raging forces at work in New York City. "Prince" is a complex detailed look at the process by which one man who starts out to redeem himself by revealing some truths, and the moral dilemma that he faces as an informant, who fines himself more a victim than a hero as he is drawn step-by-step into giving information about his police partners that would ultimately destroy them. Astute direction by Sidney Lumet, with stupendous character portrayals by a game cast that includes Richard Forony, Don Billett, Kenny Marino, Carmine Caridi, Tony Page, Bob Balaban, Paul Roebling, James Tolkan, Lindsay Crouse, Ronald Maccone, Ron Karabatso, Tony DiBenedetto, Tony Munafo, and Robert Christian, with the late great Jerry Orbach a standout as Gus Levy, a tough, no-nonsense detective who was Ciello best friend before he turned into an informant. Painstakingly detailed, with excellent use of New York locations, beautifully photographed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, with superb editing by Jack Fitzstephens. A complex, engrossing motion picture by the late great American master filmmaker/director Sidney Lumet. Winner of the New York Film Circle Award, Best Director: Sidney Lumet. Golden Globe Awards nominations, Best Picture, Best Director: Sidney Lumet, Best Actor: Treat Williams. Academy Awards nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen and Sidney Lumet. Highly Recommended.
April 10, 2015
This is Williams best work in this tense,taut thriller.
September 11, 2014
One of Sidney Lumet's most complex and detailed New York City dramas about the dark, dirty side of police work, boasting a splendid performance from Treat Williams in the lead.
August 10, 2014
One of the greatest cop movies of all time!
May 11, 2014
don't waste your bandwidth or money
Super Reviewer
½ December 13, 2013
So-saw. Not exceptional, but certainly watchable (in one or more sittings). Didn't find it great when some sequences dropped in arbitrarily for no reason except for adding style to the execution, I guess. No problems otherwise. Other than the usual.
November 11, 2013
Brilliant and underrated cop drama
August 6, 2013
Many fine movies have been made on the subject of police corruption, but few are as intricate and detailed as "Prince of the City". Esteemed director Sidney Lumet has tackled the subject before, and while "Serpico" was the better film, this is a worthy companion piece, a movie that's as thorough as it is long.

In fact, that may be the one thing keeping the film from greatness; there are far too many characters and plot threads to keep up with. You can't help but thinking this story could have been pared down to the bare essentials and not only maintain the picture's impact but even enhanced it.

What remains, however, is the moral core and fine performance from Treat Williams in his first starring role. It's fascinating to watch as Williams opens Pandora's Box with the best of intentions, and how that action in itself is corrupted to the point where you forget why he even did it in the first place. It's a wonderfully subtle performance that the actor has a tendency to take over the top sometimes. It works best when he focuses less on emoting and trying to get everyone's attention.

The screenplay is smart and wordy, a cop movie in which there are no gunfights, car chases or even really any good guys. Everyone is corrupt to some degree, and when all is said and done, the film finds just the right tone for the ending. It's perhaps the best moment in the picture, with a terrific final line.

Keeping up with "Prince of the City" is very challenging, but in the end, it's a rewarding experience. It's a great example of a wonderful director working at the top of his game. Nobody makes 'em quite like Lumet did these days.
August 6, 2013
Many fine movies have been made on the subject of police corruption, but few are as intricate and detailed as "Prince of the City". Esteemed director Sidney Lumet has tackled the subject before, and while "Serpico" was the better film, this is a worthy companion piece, a movie that's as thorough as it is long.

In fact, that may be the one thing keeping the film from greatness; there are far too many characters and plot threads to keep up with. You can't help but thinking this story could have been pared down to the bare essentials and not only maintain the picture's impact but even enhanced it.

What remains, however, is the moral core and fine performance from Treat Williams in his first starring role. It's fascinating to watch as Williams opens Pandora's Box with the best of intentions, and how that action in itself is corrupted to the point where you forget why he even did it in the first place. It's a wonderfully subtle performance that the actor has a tendency to take over the top sometimes. It works best when he focuses less on emoting and trying to get everyone's attention.

The screenplay is smart and wordy, a cop movie in which there are no gunfights, car chases or even really any good guys. Everyone is corrupt to some degree, and when all is said and done, the film finds just the right tone for the ending. It's perhaps the best moment in the picture, with a terrific final line.

Keeping up with "Prince of the City" is very challenging, but in the end, it's a rewarding experience. It's a great example of a wonderful director working at the top of his game. Nobody makes 'em quite like Lumet did these days.
June 4, 2013
Easily on of director Sidney Lumet's best! Awesome flick from the get go....Ricky Miller, 6-7-13
April 2, 2013
Prince of the City is classic Lumet for sure, but it's also sprawling to a fault. It's hard not to be impressed by the film's epic scope, using a huge multitude of actors and locations in the production, and it's looks at the complexities of the justice system are intriguing. Still, the film is all over the place in terms of style and narrative, and while Treat Williams does do a fine performance, he doesn't quite do enough to make us sympathize with his cop-out-of-water character as we did for Al Pacino in Serpico. Not one of Lumet's very best, but far from his very worst.
½ March 31, 2013
An ordeal to consume due to the ambitiousness of the narrative but ultimately carried through by fine performances, an eloquent script and nuanced direction.
½ December 20, 2012
An incredibly in depth look, at police corruption and undercover work, Prince of the City benefit's heavily from strong ensemble performances, a exceptionally well crafted script and patient direction from Sidney Lumet which allows the film to be paced appropriately. It's definitely a hidden gem that I'm surprised hasn't been referenced allot in the annals of Crime Drama heavyweights , none the less it's a film I'm glad to have found.
October 27, 2012
One of the finest examinations of police corruption in seventies america, highlighting dark and dense moralities.
½ October 3, 2012
Phew, that was ordeal. Really good, but it took some doing.
½ August 14, 2012
Fantastic Police Drama--It Isn't Easy Being Blue!!
April 24, 2012
Great cast but felt it was at least an hour too long
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